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July 11, 2022

New guide addresses origins of and solutions to heirs’ property land loss

CHICAGO, July 11, 2022 — A new book from the American Bar Association, “Heirs’ Property and the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act: Challenges, Solutions, and Historic Reform,” provides a comprehensive, yet easily understandable overview of a widespread and problematic form of property ownership in the United States known as heirs’ property,  which typically arises due to a lack of estate planning. There has been growing awareness about various heirs’ property problems, including massive, decadeslong, involuntary land loss. This book will increase that awareness among lawyers, the public and policymakers. Just as important, the book offers practical solutions for those seeking to address a variety of heirs’ property problems.

The contributing authors possess deep expertise in working on a range of heirs’ property issues, including Thomas Mitchell, the lead co-editor and contributing author, who was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant in large part for his heirs’ property work. The authors include academics, leaders of various nonprofit organizations that do important heirs’ property work, grassroot activists and prominent attorneys in private practice.

Title:  “Heirs’ Property and the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act: Challenges, Solutions, and Historic Reform
Publisher:  Section of State and Local Government Law
Pages:                   258
Product Code:       5330257
ISBN:                     9781639051205
Size:                      7x10
Binding:                Paperback and eBook
Price:                     $79.95

Editor’s note: Electronic review copies are available by sending an email to Sarah Craig at [email protected]. If you publish a review of this book, please a digital copy for our files to Sarah Craig at the above email address.

Praise for “Heirs’ Property and the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act”

“To realize more of the promise of the Civil Rights Movement, massive racial and ethnic wealth gaps must be narrowed. Deeply problematic, unstable and widespread heirs’ property ownership has plagued Black and Brown communities for decades. This book should be the go-to book for those interested in helping disadvantaged heirs’ property owners significantly improve their ability to build and maintain the wealth, culture and history associated with their property as well as for those committed to helping make our property system less racialized and more just.”
—    Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP

“Heirs’ property has long represented highly unstable and problematic second-class property ownership, which has contributed to exacerbating the racial wealth gap. This book not only analyzes and describes this little known and poorly understood problem but provides a road map to ameliorating it. Utilizing the very successful model state property statute the book highlights, a statute principally drafted by Professor Thomas Mitchell, scholars and advocates can help heirs’ property owners across the country maintain their family property and generational wealth. For those interested in real social change, this is a necessary volume!”
—    Melvin L. Oliver, president, Pitzer College and co-author, “Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality”

“This treatise on heirs' property is groundbreaking. This is the most significant analysis of how African Americans lost property and thereby lost one of the key pillars for generational wealth in America. I recommend this text to lawyers, pastors, activists, real estate agents and civil rights organizations. It is a text that provides a framework for presenting a case for reparations.”
—    Rev. Dr. Janette C. Wilson, Esq., senior adviser, Rainbow PUSH; national executive director, PUSH Excel; and pastor, Maple Park United Methodist Church

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.